By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—THE quest by Governor Willie Obiano’s administration to achieve self sufficiency in food production in Anambra state for both local consumption and export may have hit the desired target, following a prompt intervention of International Funds for Agricultural Development, IFAD, through the Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP.
Already, Obiano had during the ceremony to mark the 25th anniversary of the creation of Anambra state in 1991, expressed confidence that the state, under his watch, has started exporting rice, cassava, vegetables and other agricultural products to foreign countries, barely two years of his administration, adding that by the time he would have completed his first tenure of four years, the state would be generating its greater percentage of income through exportation of farm produce.
While Obiano was boasting, little did the masses know that he had already attracted the presence of IFAD to assist farmers in the state in boosting food production through mechanized agricultural technology.
The farmers who formed cooperative societies in the rural areas of the state, were trained on the new farming techniques by officials of Value Chain Development Programme, VCDP, under the state Agricultural Development Programme, ADP and assisted with 50 percent cost of tractors, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides and modern rice/cassava species.
Although some of the farmers complained that those farm implements and seedlings arrived a bit late within this year’s farming season, they were full of praised to the VCDP officials for the training on modern farming techniques and provision of farm implements and improved seedlings to them at only 50 percent cost, which enabled them to cultivate more hectres of lands during this year’s planting season and sowed the improved seedlings.
VCDP’s Agricultural Production Officer, APO, Emmanuel Chukwukwelu, accompanied VCDP’s Knowledge Management and Communication Officer, KMCO, Patrick Nzekwe and Anthony Okeke, Extension Agent for Orumba North, said VCDP gave farm imputs to a total of 320 groups of 3,150 farmers.
He said VCDP’s priority, since it took off in 2014 was to increase food production and alleviate poverty by giving marching grants, land preparations, road construction, land development, provision of imputs, fertilizers, herbicides, technical support, supervision and ensuring that farmers work according to VCDP programme of action, adding that their concentration areas in the state included the food basket areas of Orumba North, Orumba South, Awka North, Anambra East, Anambra West, Ogbaru and Ayamelum local government areas of the state.
At Ani River rice farm land located at Umuonyiuka village, Ufuma also in Orumba North, a member of 10-member Chinenye Multi-purpose farmers group, Bridget Orji, said she was cultivating eight plots of rice.